Glastonbury - rain yes, mud no?
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With the weather forecast over this weekend's Glastonbury Festival once again looking ominous, organisers have revealed their attempts to minimise a mud bath.
With Glastonbury as synonomous with mud as it is with great music and good times, Michael Eavis and his team have decided that enough is enough ahead of this weekend's three-day event.
Months of planning and construction have created a festival site purpose built to withstand another mud bath, such as the famous deluges in 1997, 1998 and 2005.
With more people set to enjoy the Worthy Farm weekender than ever before, following an increase in capacity this year to 177,000, festival organisers have made the message clear - safety is paramount.
Michael Eavis, 71, told The Guardian: "Deep mud is quite dangerous. It's something I'm always concerned about because it's a huge responsibility. We don't want people slipping and becoming crushed."
As a result, hundreds of metres of drainage pipes have been replaced by piping measuring 1.2 metres in diameter to deal with flows of water, while thousands of tonnes of 'hardcore' have been laid around the site.
The area in front of the Pyramid Stage has been dug up, so that the gravel and rock mix can be laid before the top soil replaced, in the hope that the forecast rain will not create the thick mud of the last two events in 2004/5.
Around £750,000 has been spent on engineering at the site and the project has been in operation since 1 March, employing three times the amount of heavy lifting equipment normally used.
A number of underground sewage tanks with a 47,000-litre capacity have been installed, including one enormous container that can hold 25,000 litres alone.
Bob St Barbe, Glastonbury's infrastructure manager, said: "It isn't really a practicality to eliminate mud; if you Tarmacked the place you would still bring mud on to the road. But whether it's wet or dry, we love it.
"We've also made a huge lake this year, so we can draw water to spray the roads if we get hot weather. It has a huge metal sieve so that we don't draw out the fish. And we must have knocked down half the mountains in Somerset to make hard core."
With the chance of mud always a possibility at Glastonbury due to its geographical propensity for rain, festival goers are advised to bring adequate clothing, including wellies, and to be careful when walking around the site.
Asked for his own weather predictions, Eavis, who received a CBE on the weekend, said: "I think it's just possibly a few spots of very light rain. There's no heavy rain at all."
Sadly the Met Office disagree, forecasting chilly temperatures, limited sunshine and "showers, heavy and thundery in places [with] some longer spells of rain".
Check for yourself HERE.
Glastonbury Festival takes place this weekend, 22-24 June, at Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset.
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